A friend of mine who has very curly hair, often has it straightened professionally periodically.  A few years back, she went in for her scheduled appointment and upon the conclusion of the procedure, the owner of the salon approached her explaining that there was a problem with the product that they were unaware of and that there was a chance that her hair could be damaged or even start coming out.  I don’t remember the exact problem with the product, whether there was a recall the stylist was unaware of.  The owner went on that after he called the company, they recommended that she come back to their salon for complimentary service weekly so that they could give her the best possibility of avoiding a problem and they could professionally monitor and treat her hair.  He profusely apologized and told my friend that as long as she lived in their town he would care for her hair at no cost what so ever.  I remember thinking as she told me the story how much a woman’s hair means to her.  To be faced with the fact of loosing hair either due to a medical condition or treatment, like chemo for cancer or even in this situation, it would be hard.  I was wondering how she reacted, but she told me that she felt they had handled it as well as they could of and that she really couldn’t be mad at them because, things happen and “it was just her hair.”  Wow, I don’t know if I could have been that ‘ok’ with it.  I may have missed some of the details of the exact problem with the product, but you get the gist of the story….Well, two years later, my friend did not loose her hair and when she went into the salon that week she said hello to the owner and said to him, “I have not lost my hair, it probably all has grown out at this point, I appreciate you taking care of me, being honest and from here on in, I’ll pay for my services.”

    How do you treat the people you come in to contact with on a routine basis?   Of course, your Family and Chief Friends you treat well and you should.  Are you respectful to those people you count to help you through out your daily and routine interactions?  I was once at a medical appointment and I overheard another patient chewing out the receptionist as I waited to see the doctor.  Of course, I did not know the circumstances of the situation, but the patient looked like a complete fool.  How the problem was resolved is a mystery to me, but I know if I saw that person in the grocery store or heard their voice, surly I would remember the scene.

     A friend of mine told me a story of a vacation her daughter took with another family when the girls were on a college break.  The dad purchased some lottery tickets at the store and brought them back to the VRBO they were renting, for the girls who were on the trip with them.  One of the girls scratched off the ticket and it was a substantial win.  The mother who hosted the college friends asked for the ticket back since they purchased it-I do not know if the Dad ever knew this-of course the girl with the ticket gave it to her as she was a guest.  I couldn’t believe it.  The Dad had given the girls the tickets to have fun with.  Surprising how people’s  behavior can change when money is involved.  The young lady who had the winning lottery ticket will, no doubt, never forget that situation and most likely she learned some good lessons from that encounter.

    Much is to be learned about a person’s character by how they treat people.  We all can make mistakes and we can over react at times.  Maybe we are stressed, experience difficulty in our lives, these things happen.  It’s how we react when we sit back and reflect, “Was I wrong?”  Or “Did I not handle that right?” In those situations, you sincerely apologize, ask for forgiveness and hope the person you offended or insulted, can move on.  We’ve all been there.  Maybe we didn’t have the correct information maybe it was a misunderstanding on our part, no matter what the reason, we were wrong and we need to fess up.

     A friend of mine who lives in town, grew up in the Detroit area.  When she married a man who grew up in Grand Blanc, she told me it took her a while to “find her people.”  She found a  dry cleaners  she felt comfortable with and got to know the staff.  She did the same with a family doctor, hairdresser, veterinarian, pediatrician, seamstress, etc. We once talked about how comforting it is to find these people, like the car salesman you can trust to help you figure out the best deal for your needs and not over sell you, who knows when your lease is up and calls you a couple months early because he knows the car of the month happens to be a “grocery getter” and that’s what your family needs now, you can do the pull ahead and you’re in for a hundred dollars less than your current lease (wouldn’t happen now, but years ago, our guy was like this).  Our guy was Bill.  We hardly went in to the showroom.  Bill would deliver the car to our house, we’d sign the papers over a beer and his wife would come pick him up after he did the introduction and hooked up our garage door opener to the one in the car.  Bill would pick our car up from Brad’s office when it needed to go in to the shop.  We never shopped around or called anyone else because we had a trust relationship with Bill.  There could have been times we may have paid a little more but I never would question Bill because the relationship was there.  Our families became friends.  Some people particularity DON’T want to do business with people they know because it’s uncomfortable if there is a problem.  I get that, however, I look at it as if there is a problem, and you have a relationship, you should feel comfortable saying, “I’m not sure I understand the bill, can you go over that with me, it could be my error.”  Someone who is concerned about the relationship will gladly go over the issue and clarify, and if THEY have made an error, most likely they’ll fix it and everyone moves on.

    That’s what my friend was getting at with ‘finding her people.’ It is a comforting feeling when you find your community.  It can be a community of friends in your own (physical) town, or a community of friends who have been close since childhood or college, a Faith community at your church/synagogue, a community of like minded people with a common interest.  What ever the community, or bubble as some may call it, when you find that community it is a nice feeling to find others who ‘have your back,’ people who make an effort everyday of their life to live by the Golden Rule.  Any relationship whether personal as that of a spouse, familia, friendship, chief friend, neighbor, or professional, is one where each person treats one another with respect.  Now of course, each relationship is a different type closeness however, the constant is the respect.  There is no relationship without respect.  Show me a professional who doesn’t not respect their co-worker or clients and it won’t be long before you’ll see a breakdown in their personal relationships and vice versa, when someone treats those closest to them poorly, it’s not long before it shows up professionally.  Respect is respect. If you want to be respected, you need to treat others with respect.  When there is respect there may be sometimes you give more than you get, but the next time, you many get more than you give.  In the best of relationships there is mutual respect.  When there is mutual respect, good communication comes easy.  When the goal is a long term relationship whether romantic/spouse, familial, friendship or professional, you look for the best in the person and hopefully, they’ll do the same.  There maybe times when things don’t workout, when long term friends part ways, a long term professional relationship goes sour or someone may go in a different direction and that can be just part of life.  You’ll fill that void with someone who will respect you.  We’ve all witnessed this scene play out, the hot head, the self centered or narcissist.  They may get by with it because they have a redeeming quality like they are smart, good looking or their position in the community, but eventually, they’ll wear out their welcome, cross the line and get to the point where they just can’t go back.  They have severed the relationship.  Unfortunately, they had to learn the hard way.

    Soooo, you may ask, “How do you assemble your community or bubble?”  You may already have your community and if you do, relish in that.  It’s nice to know that you have your own little network of friends, people in the community who you count on for you spiritual support, medical advice and needs, a grocery store you can count on where you know the cashiers, a group of close friends and a fitness community where you know the instructors and the front desk staff who check you in when you arrive.  If you don’t, start looking for your community.  It may take a few tries in some categories but be discriminating and observant.  Relationships take time to nurture.  It means saying hello and getting to know people.  I know about the cashiers who check me our at the grocery store.  I know about their families, not personal stuff, but I know who is a grandmother and how many kids a few of them have.  If I don’t see one of them for a while I the other cashiers if they are ok?  When my friends have birthdays I make sure to call and let them know I’m thinking about them.  When I teach fitness classes, I know my participants who come regularly.  At the health club in Michigan I teach at, there is a twenty plus year relationships with some of the gals.  I remember when Sharon’s grandchildren in Chicago were born and now her granddaughter is graduating and she is going to Texas Christian University where my oldest son attended college.  In Florida, I attend Alicia’s class and her Family recently took a trip to her husband’s homeland of France.  I enjoyed seeing her photos and hearing how it was for the five of them to travel for a couple of weeks throughout the country.  The relationships in our lives enrich our lives.  When there are strong relationships in a community everyone benefits.  Think of the neighbors who look out for the older couple when there is a storm.  We have friends in Florida, who all experienced their first hurricane together last fall the younger couples all looked our for the older couple who had just moved down from up north.  They were in contact with their adult kids out of state to reassure them that their parents were ok and being looked in on.  The storm had turned directions so that it was not possible for one of them to come down or for them to get up north.  Of course, this couple is completely capable and they could have fended for themselves and they probably would have been just fine, but their neighbors just looked out for them.  Imagine the comfort for them, experiencing their first hurricane and just knowing that there were others around if something tragic or difficult had happened.  Really, same for all of the others, just knowing that someone else was going through the same experience.  Same for the ups and downs in life.  It’s just nice to know there are people who will be there for you in the good times and in the tough times.  Knowing “the people in your neighborhood” and having a good relationships with them, can lead to many Great Days for you all ❤️